The question of whether to lift the current ban on Russia’s track and field athletes tops the agenda here for this weekend’s 212th International Association of Athletics Federations Council (IAAF) meeting – and the indications are it will remain in place.
Rune Andersen, chairman of the IAAF Taskforce overseeing Russia’s efforts to lift the suspension, told insidethegames earlier this month that the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) was “making progress”.
But the chances of any significant change in the IAAF stance appear low given the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on November 16 not to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
When the ban was maintained at the IAAF Council meeting in Monaco on February 6, Andersen made it clear that RusAF could not be reinstated until RUSADA was declared compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
“The road map that I outlined here now, and to the council earlier, clearly states there will be no reinstatement until RUSADA is functioning," he said.
“Presumably, if everything goes with the plan, there will be a full reinstatement by November 2017."
But everything does not appear to have gone with the plan over the following nine months.
Last week's decision by the WADA Foundation Board in Seoul also means there is now a serious doubt over whether Russia will be allowed to compete under its own flag at next year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
The Norwegian told insidethegames that the November meeting, which involved officials, including the RusAF President and several members of the Taskforce, had been “useful”, adding:
“We discussed the progress towards the reinstatement conditions ahead of the IAAF Council meeting that will take place in Monaco on November 26.
“They are making progress.
“They are meeting more and more of the criteria that the Council has set for them to be reinstated.
“They are working hard.
“Our meeting enabled us to bring forth the list of issues still outstanding.
“They know what these steps still to be taken are.
“We are having almost constant communication with RusAF to remedy every one of the criteria that have been set.
“Different issues are being addressed all the time as you see internal developments taking place in Russia.”
Andersen, however, acknowledged that the WADA Foundation Board’s decision would “have a bearing” on what the IAAF Taskforce was trying to do, saying: “Everything is interrelated.”
He added: “We will hold a full meeting of the Taskforce on the Saturday before the Council meeting where we will decide on how to advise and what recommendations to make.”
The ban on Russian track and field athletes from international competition has been in place since November 2015 following a report commissioned by WADA which found evidence of state-supported doping.
Other items for consideration at the Council meeting, that will conclude on Sunday, include the destination of the 2020 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
There are three bidders for this event - Nanjing, in China; Toruń, in Poland; and Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
Confirmation will also be sought by Gdynia in Poland, which is seeking to host the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships, and Minsk, capital of Belarus, which has bid for the 2020 World Race Walking Team Championships.